NEW THIS WEEK
MONTEREY POPS! JULY 4 CELEBRATION
WHERE OTHERS REMAIN STRANDED AND SILENT, Carl Christensen and the Monterey Pops! orchestra have figured out a way to make live music for all to enjoy. On this Saturday’s Independence Day, Monterey Pops! will, as ever, renew its annual gift to the community in an outdoor live stream from 1 to 2 pm in Monterey. It will feature a variety of patriotic favorites, plus Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and the singing talents of Mia Pak and Jackie Craghead (pictured above). The thirty-eight member orchestra will perform outdoors while taking all COVID-19 precautions. (Winds and brass should probably be on the downwind side.)
MĂCELARU GETS CONTRACT EXTENSION
CABRILLO FESTIVAL MUSIC DIRECTOR Cristian Măcelaru has been extended as principal conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra by an extra three years until 31 July 2025. WDR programme director Valerie Weber said: ‘With his personality and an unusually broad repertoire that ranges from Bach right up to contemporary music, he has made such a convincing impression in his first year that we would like to keep him for longer in North Rhine Westphalia and at our orchestra.’ Măcelaru, 40, was also recently named music director of the Orchestre National de France starting next year.
NEW SHAKESPEARE WEBINAR SERIES
JOIN SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE, the Humanities Institute and UC Santa Cruz Shakespeare Workshop for a virtual Shakespeare Summer Series titled Undiscovered Shakespeare: The Wars of the Roses, Wednesdays at 6:30pm, ten sessions starting July 1 and running through September 2. You will need to reserve your free tickets to participate in the July sessions through Zoom. Sign up HERE
HOW MUSIC HELPED A P.O.W. SURVIVE
PHILLIP BUTLER (pictured with his wife Barbara) was held captive for eight years—and tortured—by North Vietnam after his fighter jet went down during the civil war there. Much has been written about Butler’s extraordinary life, including a thoroughgoing article by Walter Ryce for the Monterey County Weekly in 2010. Now 82, and in response to our invitation, Butler put his love of music into and beyond that hellish war experience.
MY APPRECIATION for music, especially classical, began at age five when my mother gave me beginning piano lessons. She taught me to read music and sent me to a piano teacher at around seven. I stuck with it until age 12 when I became more interested in sports, constantly spraining fingers to the consternation of my teacher. Around that time my parents divorced so there was no longer music leadership to compel me to continue on. Fast forward to age 26, when as a Navy carrier pilot I went down over then North Vietnam, was captured and became a prisoner of war. My treatment at the hands of my Vietnamese captors was very bad and I spent long days and nights with no diversions other than my own mind.
So early on I began to recall classical music but even more, popular lyrical music of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. I began to create my own mental “jukebox” of all the songs and words I could remember. Later on when in cells with other POW’s I plumbed them for words. In time my mental jukebox consisted of over 100 songs I had arranged in alphabetical order. Now I could close my eyes and call up any popular singer I could remember, singing any of my songs.
Fast forward to age 46, when one day I decided to drop in on the Monterey City Senior Center and introduced myself to the piano teacher. After one lesson I discovered I had an ability to read music. Within a year I had a piano in my home and another year or so later began serious piano lessons again with Katie Clare Mazzeo. I took lessons from this magnificent teacher, performer and woman for 15 years.
Now I am 82 and enjoy my favorite composers here at home on my restored 1887 Ivers and Pond. I especially enjoy playing lyrical works and the Romantics. Some of my favorites are the more manageable works of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. I can get lost in my piano. Once again music makes my heart sing. And yes I still have that jukebox.
CRISANTEMI FOR CHRYSANTHEMUMS
AT THE LICEU opera house in Barcelona. Click HERE
VIENNA BOYS CHOIR NEEDS HELP
FIVE-HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD INSTITUTION has lost 113 performances to COVID-19. Desperately needs to raise money. Click HERE
GERSHWIN’S SLAP THAT BASS
FROM SHALL WE DANCE, 1937, with Fred Astaire and an uncredited cast.
GERSHWIN PLAYS HIS OWN I GOT RHYTHM
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
A LAD’S LOVE
FOR RELEASE THIS FRIDAY, American tenor Brian Giebler, praised by the New York Times for his “lovely tone and deep expressivity,” finds delight in the friendships of one’s youth and suffers the pain of unrequited love, and the destruction, horror and futility of war. A Lad’s Love is a disc that brings together the profound beauty created by Britain’s poets and composers during the turbulent years of the early 20th century. Moreover, he brings to my attention songs and even composers unfamiliar to me. Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) is represented by the song cycle Ludlow and Teme (1923) and the song In Flanders (1917). Ian Venables’ (b. 1955) “Because I liked you better” is excerpted from his Songs of Eternity and Sorrow. There are songs by Peter Warlock, Roger Quilter and John Ireland (including Ladslove of 1920). A major body of work in the collection comes from Benjamin Britten, including his canticle “Abraham and Isaac” (for which Giebler is joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley) and the six-part song cycle Fish in the unruffled lakes. Pianist Steven McGhee and a string quartet of Katie Hyun, Ben Russell, Jessica Meyer and Michael Katz share the accompanying obligations. The CD is a welcome addition to some rare but excellent repertoire and a fine lyric tenor voice. The song texts are available by an online link. SM
SMUIN BALLET TAKES A BREAK THIS WEEK
CLASSES take the place of archives.
CELLIST ZUILL BAILEY STREAMED LIVE
ON JUNE 20, with pianist and former child prodigy Natasha Paremski. To hear the actual program (a Bach suite and Chopin sonata) scroll to 30 minutes after the start of the YouTube.
CARMEL MUSIC WINNER SENDS SHIVERS
ELIZABETH SCHUMANN gives a hair-raising account of Franz Schubert’s horror story in Franz Liszt’s virtuosic transcription. Click HERE then on her picture.
THE BETTER YOU KNOW Richard Wagner’s Ring the funnier this gets. Jamie Barton is the Indiana Jones of opera, and other romantic sports.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor